Oh, yes, indeedy.
SoupAddict went on a little trip last week to participate in Midwest Living magazine’s Best of the Midwest Recipe Contest. She had submitted a recipe back in September, and promptly forgot about it. Just like she forgets where she’s laid her keys the second they leave her fingers.
And then one day in November, the very same day this blog was featured on wordpress.com, she got a call from New York saying she was a finalist in that forgotten contest. It was a good day. Which was nice, because it had been a sucky day at work.
Ever notice how good news often arrives just when you need it most?
Anyway, SoupAddict will go ahead and relieve the suspense and say right now that she didn’t win. It’s okay. There were other benefits.
See that cute guy? That’s Sam. He’s the executive chef at Reunion Hall in Silver Dollar City. Super nice.
Now see that other handsome hunk? That one there. To Sam’s right. The one with those sexy silver highlights? His name’s Hobart
SoupAddict has a huge crush on Hobart.
Hobart’s a magnificent 80-quart mixer. Check out Hobart’s attachments. They’re so large (notice the paper towel dispenser, for size reference), they have to hang from the ceiling because there’s nowhere else to go with them. Just look at that dough hook. Sometimes size does matter, people.
Did you know that Hobart started the line of KitchenAid stand mixers that we all know and love? Believe it, it’s true. Hobart is amazing.
SoupAddict has been daydreaming about all the goodies she and Hobart could make. Bread to feed an army. Sheet pan after sheet pan of brownies, lined around the block. Petit Fours. Laminated croissants so flaky and tender people will come from miles to eat them. And there’d be enough for everyone. Because Hobart can handle it.
(Okay, ladies, Sam’s married, and Hobart’s mine-all-mine, so, keep on a’movin’ right along there now, there’s nothing more to see here.)
The contestants got a tour of the Reunion Hall production kitchen — the place where we’d be preparing our recipes. SoupAddict had the oddest sensation when she stepped into this huge kitchen with SUV-sized ovens and spider burners and floor mixers everywhere. She felt … at home. Seriously at home. There’s probably a message there somewhere.
SoupAddict has never seen an oven like this. It has 6 long, long shelves that rotate within for even heating and easy removal. (I’m not sure that any of the shelves are visible in this camera-phone photo, but they’re there.)
Another commercial mixer, a 12 quarter. Notice the dinky KitchenAid Artisan 5-quart mixer next to it.
The prep station where SoupAddict would be preparing her stuffed cheesesteaks the following day.
If there’s one bummer about the trip, it’s that I didn’t get to take any photos the day of the competition. It was crazy chaos! However, there was a photographer and a videographer following us around all day, so hopefully Midwest Living will post everything on the their web site. The April 2011 issue will contain the full write-up of the day’s shenanigans.
In a moment of serendipity, I did manage to snap this photo of the eventual winner, Judy (left), asking questions about her prep station. This is about the only in-focus picture I have of any of the contest peeps. Judy’s a total sweetie, and I’m glad she won. To Judy’s right is Donna, the kitchen manager. Awesome, awesome person. She gave one of the contestants a proprietary cake recipe, and made it a point to show me the knife sharpener they use after I commented how wonderfully sharp my knife had been at the very moment I needed a wonderfully sharp knife.
Oh, and on the right is Hobart, my new main squeeze.
And this, this is the drop-dead gorgeous kitchen at the culinary school in Silver Dollar City. That’s Serena, explaining how we have to get up in front of the judges, seated in the chairs in the foreground, and a 30+ culinary class in the stadium seating out of sight over my right shoulder, and talk about our perfectly plated dishes, a la Hell’s Kitchen. (SoupAddict was a college instructor in a previous life, so the presentation was a breeze and not nerve-wracking at all, but she left secretly disappointed that none of the judges called her a donkey.)
Truth be told, this kitchen is fab, with its amazing artisan copper walls and stainless steel accents and white wood. But her heart belongs back in the production kitchen. With her new love, Hobart.